- Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Cold water bottles will help keep food cold during a power outage and can also be used for drinking water.
- Check with your physician or pharmacist about any medication that needs to be refrigerated. It is important to know how long medication is safe in the refrigerator without power.
- Make a plan to prepare for family members with disabilities or who have ill health.
- Try to keep gas tanks at least half full. If the power goes out, gas stations may be unavailable.
- Have extra cash available. ATMs will not work without electricity.
- Keep a key to the house with you when away from home. The garage will not open if the power is out.
Blackout-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit:
- Extra batteries
- Large flashlights or emergency lighting
- Food that does not require heat
- Warm clothes and blankets
- Severe weather, such as thunderstorms, tornados, winter storms and strong winds.
- Extreme hot or cold temperatures.
- Use only flashlights or emergency lighting. Never use candles during a blackout or power outage due to fire risk.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep the contents inside as fresh as possible. If you must eat food, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
- Turn off or disconnect appliances and electronics. The return of power may cause surges that can damage them.
- If it is hot outside, move to the lowest level of your home, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink water.
- If it is cold outside, dress in warm clothing and layers, keep doors shut and never use the stove or charcoal as a heat source.
- Use extreme caution when driving.
- Do not call 9-1-1 to ask about the power outage. Listen to a battery powered radio for updates.
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by not using grills, unvented gas or kerosene heaters, generators, or ovens and stoves in the house.
- Throw away food that has been exposed to temperatures more than 40 degrees for two hours or more, or if they have unusual color, odor or texture. Remember: When in doubt, throw it out!
- Report downed power lines. Stay away. Stay safe!
More Information/Additional Resources:
FEMA Power Outage Website: http://www.ready.gov/power-outages
FEMA Accessible: CDC Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (ASL Video)
FEMA Accessible: Lifesaving Safety Tips PSA (ASL Video)
FEMA CDC Accessible: Returning Home Safely After a Disaster (ASL Video)
FEMA Accessible: Tips on How to Return Home Safely After a Disaster (ASL Video)
What to Do Before, During, and After a Power Outage (PDF)
Food Safety Before, During and After a Power Outage (PDF)